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Patrick Calls Clinton Health Plan "Remarkably Similar" to Obama's

Patrick Calls Clinton Health Plan "Remarkably Similar" to Obama's

February 1, 2008

From today's State House News Service -- the increasingly bizarre health reform conversation:

...Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday evening said Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care plan is "remarkably similar" to rival Sen. Barack Obama's, even though his lacks an individual mandate.

In one of their few overt policy differences, Obama has touted a health care plan without a mandate that would force individuals to purchase health insurance. Clinton's plan has been compared to Massachusetts's health care reform effort because of its reliance on a mandate for individuals to purchase insurance.

"I think the focus on the mandate as a difference is a difference without a distinction," Patrick said during a brief Q&A after revving up Obama supporters at Boston University. "If it was all about a mandate then we could cure homelessness by ordering everybody to buy a house. A mandate all by itself doesn't mean a thing. Everybody who's worked on health reform here knows that."

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, an architect of the Massachusetts plan, panned Obama's proposal, calling a mandate "an absolute necessity." Drafters of the 2006 health insurance reform law agreed at the time that the key to its success was shared responsibility among individuals, employers and the government.

And meanwhile, Obama has put out a mailer sharply attacking Clinton's plan on the issue of mandates. NY Times columnist (and big Obama basher) Krugman calls it reminiscent of the 1993 "Harry and Louise" ads, and the Clinton campaign agrees.